Author(s): Tamune H, Takeya H, Suzuki W, Tagashira Y, Kuki T,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Meningitis is a common emergency disease. Signs and symptoms easily observed at the bedside are needed because early recognition of the possibility of meningitis is necessary for the decision to perform lumbar puncture. Jolt accentuation of headache has been reported to be the most sensitive diagnostic test; however, limited articles have reproduced its sensitivity. METHODS: This is a single-center retrospective medical record review between 2007 and 2012. We diagnosed meningitis based on the criterion standard that cerebrospinal fluid total cells is more than 5/mm(3), in accordance with previous studies. All diagnostic and management decisions including Kernig sign, nuchal rigidity, and jolt accentuation of headache were at the physician's discretion. We calculated the sensitivity and specificity of well-known signs and symptoms of meningitis and, especially, compared the efficacy of jolt accentuation of headache with previous studies. RESULTS: We investigated 531 adult patients who were suspected of meningitis and had lumbar puncture performed. Of these patients, 139 had meningitis. Background characteristics and vital signs were not clinically different between the 2 groups, although classic tetralogy of bacterial meningitis (fever, nuchal rigidity, mental disturbance, and headache) was worth investigated. The sensitivity and specificity of jolt accentuation of headache were 63.9\% (95\% confidence interval, 51.9\%-76.0\%) and 43.2\% (34.7\%-51.6\%), respectively. CONCLUSION: The absence of jolt accentuation of headache test cannot, on its own, accurately rule out meningitis in adults. Further studies are warranted to reproduce this result and to discover better bedside diagnostic tests. © 2013.
This article was published in Am J Emerg Med
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access